Matt Gaetz associate expected to plead guilty in case that spawned sex-trafficking investigation

Matt Gaetz associate expected to plead guilty in case that spawned sex-trafficking investigation

The former Florida tax official whose criminal case spawned the sex trafficking investigation into Rep. Matt Gaetz is expected to plead guilty, court filings show.

Joel Greenberg, the former Seminole County tax collector, had previously pleaded not guilty to several charges, including stalking, wire fraud and sex trafficking of a minor. But it was revealed in court last month that Greenberg had been in talks with prosecutors to plead guilty.

At the time, Greenberg lawyer Fritz Scheller told reporters, “I’m sure Matt Gaetz isn’t feeling very comfortable today,” later clarifying, that when he said Gaetz “was worried, let me tell you what I’m basing that on. You’ve seen the number of stories out there and the emphasis is on their relationship. Isn’t it obvious to assume that he would be concerned?”

A change of plea hearing is scheduled for Monday morning in federal court in Orlando. It’s unclear what charges Greenberg will plead guilty to, and a judge would have to sign off on any agreement.

The plea change is an indication that Greenberg has a reached an agreement to cooperate with the government, but it’s unclear what that means for investigation of Gaetz.

Federal investigators are looking into whether Gaetz and Greenberg used the internet to search for women they could pay for sex. They are also investigating whether Gaetz had a sexual relationship with a minor and paid for her to travel with him, according to The New York Times, as well as whether he paid women to travel to the Bahamas for sex, a law enforcement official and another person familiar with the matter previously told NBC News.

Gaetz, who has not been charged with any crime, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

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